AT&T Faces $224 Million Lawsuit Over Alleged Cryptocurrency Heist

U.S. investor sues AT&T for $224 million over loss of cryptocurrency

In a 69-page complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Terpin alleged that on January 7, 2018, the tokens were stolen from him through what he alleged was a "digital identity theft" of his cellphone account. AT&T said that it disputes the allegations. In the beginning of January, when Terpin was stolen the tokens, most cryptocurrencies were trading close to their record highs.

The plaintiff is reportedly the co-founder of an angel group for Bitcoin investors known as BitAngels.He's also the founder of a cryptocurrency fund dubbed BitAngels/Dapps Fund.

In the court documents, Terpin accuses the company of doing "nothing" to protect almost 140 million customers from fraudulent activity, while pointing to a history of AT&T abusing customers' private information.

The filing claims that Terpin was the victim of a SIM swap fraud that was made possible by the negligence of AT&T.

According to the court documents, a total of three million digital tokens were taken from Terpin.

Terpin claims that a hacker was able to get ahold of his phone number, through which they were then able to access his cryptocurrency accounts. The lawsuit alleges that hackers convinced AT&T to transfer Terpin's cell phone account to a compromised SIM card under their control on two separate occasions. Today, Terpin is one of the Alphabit Fund's top advisers.

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Terpin now wants AT&T, which he considers the sole responsible party for the attack, to give him the $24 million back, as well as pay him an additional $200 million as punitive damages.

Whatever the outcome of Terpin's court case, it illustrates the dangers of keeping large amounts of digital assets anywhere but in properly secured cold storage.

On both occasions, the first Terpin knew of the hack was when his phone went dead.

SIM swap fraud became an issue more than six years ago and has become an increasing problem, particularly with the growing use of two-factor authentication with hackers often targeting specific individuals.

The case also highlighted a need for adequate custody services in the cryptocurrency industry. Others simply shirk the responsibility of being the sole participant responsible for the safety of their digital wealth.

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